The DA-National Fisheries Research and Development Institute (NFRDI) trained 34 agricultural extension workers, farm technicians and workers, and local government unit (LGU) personnel on fish smoking technology, focusing on seafood safety through “FishKwela: Ligtas na Pamamaraan ng Pagtitinapa ng Isda” on April 17-18, 2024, at Villar Foundation Farm School (VSF) in San Jose Del Monte City, Bulacan.

The training was a collaborative activity with VSF focusing on the various aspects of food safety concerns, basic fish smoking principles, and implementation of Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures (SSOP) in postharvest handling and production.

Present in the opening program was Noli Concepcion, representative of Mayor Arthur Robes of San Jose Del Monte-LGU, who welcomed the guests and participants. Serving as resource speakers were technical staff from the NFRDI-Fisheries Postharvest Research and Development Division (FPRDD) led by its chief Dr. Ulysses Montojo. Joining him as speakers were Gezelle Tadifa and Deserie Peralta, while Charlotte Ann Ramos and Rommel Dollente served as facilitators.

In addition to the lectures, participants were provided with hands-on demonstrations on the production of smoked fish with star anise flavor. They were given training kits consisting of aprons, boots, chopping boards, and knives. The facilitators taught them how to determine the selling price of their products and discussed the feasibility of utilizing smoking technology as a source of livelihood.

During the feedback session, participants expressed appreciation for what they had learned from the training. Kierbe Fortin, a participant from the Provincial Agriculture Office of Zambales, stated, “From 5-6 participants who knew about fish smoking, after this training, we now have 34 participants who know how to do it.” Meanwhile, Gloria Vallejos, a member of a women’s association, commented, “All facilitators and speakers delivered well, and from my observation, all participants enjoyed the activity.”

Dr. Mudjekeewis Santos, NFRDI’s TD chief, congratulated the trainees in a video message, while Senator Cynthia Villar delivered the culmination message. She congratulated the participants and facilitators for the successful conduct of the event.

FishKwela is a training program that caters to the training requests of external clients and is being coordinated by TD. ### (Lea Mae dela Cruz)